It could be your mother. Your sister. Your little brother or even your daughter.
But chances are someone in your family, someone you love, is addicted. And they need help.
Darrin Taylor, Chris Bader and the team at Axis Intervention Services are extending the hand of hope.
The men are addictions counsellors, intent on making a difference for people who want help but, for whatever reason, cannot commit to an extended stay at a treatment centre.
Taylor is the owner of Axis Intervention Services, a Kelowna and Vernon service that has been helping Okanagan families since 1999.
Axis is offering a new program aimed at meeting addicts or potential addicts where they’re at—not on the Downtown Eastside, but right here in the Okanagan Valley.
Taylor clears up a couple of myths surrounding addiction: one, the addict in your life is not likely living down on Skid Row—the truth is they are more likely to be working, or a stay-at-home mom, a business person or a student.
“I think that there are a lot of people in the Okanagan who could use help,” said Taylor, a registered therapeutic counsellor and a board certified interventionist.
“Our typical client is probably not going to be the street level addict. If someone is struggling in that way they likely require a more intensive program.
“The majority of people struggling with substance use, however, are likely to still have a home, a family, and they probably still have a job. That’s the real face of addiction in this country.”
Bader agrees that the problem is massive and underground in the Okanagan. “I think it’s huge. We talk about it often; it’s not necessarily the alcoholic drinking out of a brown paper bag,”Bader explained.
“It can be people with families, working jobs but they definitely have issues outside the public eye.We see situations where the addicted individual loses their ability to be emotionally available with their spouses and family. It’s a separation of the family unit.”
The other thing to consider is not everybody needs residential treatment.
“Often the street level or chronic alcoholic or addict requires residential treatment,” said Taylor, whereas intensive outpatient programs (IOP)are more for those who, for whatever reasons, just cannot go away for 30 or 60 days or longer to get their footing.
“If they’ve tried on their own to quit, but they have strong desire to change, and are unwilling or unprepared to leave home and engage in a residential program this is certainly a good option.”
He adds there is an understanding that some people may ultimately require more intensive work. “The IOP we are delivering may be a good springboard for longer term residential treatment if that’s what’s needed.”
Taylor and Bader are now offering that initiative in both Vernon and Kelowna.
The IOP is an educational 10-week program aiming to explain the essentials of addiction to those who may be struggling with symptoms.
The counsellors at Axis will walk clients through a series of practices designed to lead them to the goal of abstinence.
The Nanaimo facility Edgewood Treatment Centre model used by Axis includes education on addiction, cognitive behavioural therapy, relapse prevention techniques, group therapy sessions, anxiety management techniques, healthy living practices, self and peer assessments, and a recovery plan.
In addition to the three evenings a week, clients can also expect one 60-minute individual counselling session per week. There will be lectures, assignments to do, an introduction to the 12 Step movement (Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous), and the family will get an opportunity to understand what their loved one is undertaking at a family education presentation. Additional support for couples and families is also available.
“Essentially it’s a program for people who can attend in the evenings and it still allows them to maintain their work and family obligations. We have a heavy focus on education as well as counselling,” said Taylor.
“The big thing that we are trying to get across to individuals we work with is, yes it’s a chronic, progressive disease, but it’s highly treatable,” said Bader.
For more information on the Axis IOP program or to book an intake appointment call 1-866-455-AXIS or q11-778-753-6227 in Kelowna.
Further information may also be found at axisintervention.com.